Arborea Café, a Modern Café in Jakarta’s City Forest

Submitted by viravira on 8 January 2019   •  Destination

Quirky buildings often attract me, like Arborea Cafe. On a sunny morning after I went live on air on TVRI to talk about travel sketching, I visited this place which is nearby in Senayan area. Modernism meets nature ~ three words that came to my mind when I saw the café. It’s a cabin-like building in the woods inside the perimeter of Manggala Wanabakti, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Jakarta.

Arborea Cafe, a modern building within a city forest.

An Unusual Location in the Forest

Arborea Café is gaining popularity because of its unique design and setting. It’s funny because I never thought that an Indonesian ministry would house a hip, instagrammable (sorry I had to use this word) and Kinfolk-ish place like this. I say that because it is an institution that many associate with formal bureaucracy and dinosaurian way of thinking,

The stacked cubes building has an extension of a multileveled wooden platform and a rooftop on the third floor. The tables are mostly alfresco, and an enclosed air conditioned room is located only on the second floor. Not your average cafe in Jakarta, design-wise. The architect team of Ciputra Group is the one responsible for the awesome design. The geometric shape is nicely contrasting with the arboretum where it’s located. The catch is, there is a lot of mosquitos, so I should’ve prepared bug repellent lotion.

A view to the highway from Arborea Cafe’s rooftop.
Stairs to the rooftop.

Visiting Arborea Cafe in the Morning

The cafe was opened around the same time with the opening of Asian Games 2018, managed by Hotel Ciputra (at least until November 2018; I’m not sure about afterwards). It’s open from 8ish AM until 8PM. From other people’s pictures I saw online, there should be bean bags placed on the wooded terrace. But there wasn’t any upon my visit, maybe because it was still early and the staff hadn’t had time to take the bean bags out. Maybe.

The café serves various nasi goreng (fried rice), mi goreng (fried noodle), pastry, dim sum, juice and – it wouldn’t be a today thing if it weren’t for – coffee. Arriving there exactly at 8 a.m., I had to wait 15 minutes until the staff could take orders. Some of the menu weren’t ready yet, so I settled with an oxtail fried rice. It was yummy and generous with oxtail cuts – I remember it cost around IDR30,000-40,000. I tried Diyan’s sanger coffee, it was delicious, a bit sweet and bitter. However, I totally forgot to take pictures of any of the menu. On my second visit, I tried the dim sum. Yummy. Thanks to Mumun who reminded me to take pictures of it before I gobbled it all!

It was nice having our big breakfast outside. Being a city dweller, I don’t get to be amongst so many trees often. Funny thing is, the “forest” is located by one of Jakarta’s main streets, Jalan S. Parman. So there you can hear the sound of katydids as well as the vroom of the passing cars. Modernism meets nature, indeed.


Nice details, too.
Various kinds of seating, you choose.
No bean bags out in the morning just yet.


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